Tue Apr 25th, 2006 at 06:04:14 AM EST
This is a quote from the Prisoner, when No. 6 concludes his angry tirade: "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered... My life is my own!"
Jerome's latest bit of brouhaha on Kos made me reflect about the individual and society. Obviously, one single person, by him/herself, can't change the world... but one can certainly take steps to change one's life, and such steps, cumulatively, eventually have an impact on the whole of society.
This is the province of economics, sociology... and psychohistory. :-)
Besides, even if one believes one can't change society (and I'll admit I'm a bit too old to entertain such hopes myself), at least one can try to take care of one's "family unit". :-)
In my own case, I purposefully left a high-paying job in the mid-80s to become independent; both my wife and I built careers that were far less rewarding financially, but where we were indebted to no one.
Freedom over security, or servitude.
We bought a house at exactly the same time we made the jump from regular employment to self-employment, because we thought that was another way of gaining control over our lives.
We never refinanced... correction, we never took out any equity, never traded up, only refinanced from 30-yr fixed to 30-yr fixed to take advantage of dropping rates. Eventually, over 15+ years, we built up a lot of equity in a rising market.
We only bought small cars (our current one is a 2003 Toyota Echo) and paid cash for them. We generally paid our credit cards in full every month. We saved money by living modestly.
One of the reasons we decided to move to France (obligatory plug for my wife's book here) was that we felt things were, are, spinning out of control in the US; plus, once you hit 50, you might as well look for an ice floe to die, health insurance-wise.
When the time came, we purposefully chose a Southern village with all the amenities; we're as close to the food supply as can be, almost self-sufficient, and drive maybe 5000 miles in the year if that. (And a chunk of that are special trips that could be eliminated.) We have no debt, own our home free and clear (with a "declaration d'insaisissabilite" on it, meaning it can never be seized) and can live comfortably on about 1000/1200 euros a month.
We could just as well moved to a small village in Canada or New Zealand or the UK (alternatives we explored), but ultimately, France made more sense for us, and was quite appealing.
Maybe we've made all the wrong decisions over the last 15 years or so: we should have lived high in the 90s, piled up debt, squandered money, and just stay in our high six figures home in Encino, with the certainty that the Good Life will go on.
I certainly have a lot of very dear friends who live mortgaged to the hilt in huge mansions in the Hollywood hills, trapped by what Rod Serling called the "velvet cage."
A high income is like a drug addiction; you come to rely on it so much that one day, you're ready to do anything, just about anything, if someone threatens to cut off your supply.
We chose to restructure our life differently in 1985; maybe we did a foolish thing -- though even if that was the case, at least, we're happy fools. :-)
So, as No. 6 says, "your life is your own." If you think the concerns about our society that we discuss here, on Kos, etc. are valid ones, even worrying ones, then it is incumbent upon you to change your life accordingly.
Just do it.